Although the 21 books of Caxton's edition have been simplified to five, the actual text is Malory's. His famous work - like all great epics - dramatizes the dignity of noble men and women in the face of impending doom. Happily, in this case, the lofty message is accompanied by high adventure and romance, and Philip Madoc plays up both in his exciting narration. Revealing his Shakespearean training, his commanding performance is even more effective with the addition of Gregorian chants and medieval carols at the most dramatic moments. The sound quality is outstanding throughout.
The glorious but tragic story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is one of the great legends of Western civilization. Storytellers and poets down the centuries have returned repeatedly to the universal themes of the Quest of the Holy Grail and the love between Sir Launcelot and Queen Guenever. Yet the first printed account, written by the 15th century knight Sir Thomas Malory, remains unmatched. In words which speak as directly to us today as they did to his own period, he brings to life a rich tale of heroism and ideals undermined by the poignancy of human emotions.